Homeland Security Network Blog
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Challenges Ahead For New White House Cybersecurity Advisor
by In Homeland Security
It appears that President Trump is poised to select Rob Joyce, currently chief of the National Security Agency’s secretive Tailored Access Operations (TAO), as his cybersecurity czar. If Joyce assumes that role, he will have some daunting challenges ahead.
There are multiple issues to consider with Joyce in that role. Since Edward Snowden pulled back the curtain and revealed some of the insidious inner-workings and questionable ethics of the NSA, there has been lingering concerns over privacy and trust between that organization and private industry and citizens. Coming from a group that is considered mysterious even within the NSA itself makes Joyce more or less the poster child for that distrust.
“Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump made it clear he was no friend to industry or individual privacy rights. Trump’s appointment of Joyce can go one of two ways,” suggests Ajay Arora, CEO of Vera. “He can be used as a weapon for good or for evil. Bringing the chief hacker of the NSA into the White House is pretty scary considering he’s expressed his desire for backdoors to be built into security products and give government access to ‘improve national security’. Giving him this much power, is like giving a teenager a flame thrower. You never know what to expect.”
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that Joyce will be used for good. There are certainly fences to be mended between the private information security industry and government intelligence agencies. Regardless of what side of that debate you find yourself, most will agree that there is a lot of work to be done to strengthen our cybersecurity capabilities in both the public and private sector. The recent ‘Vault 7’ leaks from WikiLeaks and the hack of the DNC server during the 2016 election undermine national security and put our democracy itself at risk.